Will My Electronic Devices work in Japan?

When going to a foreign country, it’s quite common to wonder if you’ll be able to use your appliances, because there’s no way of testing it on your own, right?  Well, the answer to this question does depend on which country you’re coming from.  If you are from the United States, the answer to this question is…YES!  I am from the U.S., and every single appliance that I brought from home (my electric shaver, cell phone, ipod, Sonicare toothbrush) was able to plug right into the wall with no fuss. 

However, I did have one issue with a hair trimming device.  I plugged it and the device did turn on, but suddenly I heard this extremely loud buzzing noise.  I ended up having to go to my local electronics store and buy a small transformer to change the power into a form my trimmer could use.  Sucess…for the most part.  But I did find that when I use the trimmer for too long, even with the transformer, I have the same problem. So for Americans coming to Japan, you shouldn’t have any trouble with the vast majority of your appliances.  But please keep in mind that not all electronic devices are created equal.  Just because an item’s plug fits the outlet you’re using doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.  You don’t want to fry your appliance’s circuits, right?  So in those cases where an item may be doing something weird, like my hair trimmer example, it might be a sign that you need an transformer.

What is the difference between a transform and an adapter?  There are many plug shapes and sizes from place to place, and adapters make your plug compatible to that of a foreign country’s.  A transformer on the other hand, deals more with changing voltage.  Again, you may have a plug that totally fits, but that doesn’t mean the voltages are compatible.

I know I’ve mentioned alot about American appliances because that’s my experience.  But what if you’re from another country?  Well, I honestly can’t say for sure if your gadgets and gizmos will work because I haven’t tested plugs from other countries.  But there is hope.  Japan is one of the most wealthiest nations in the world, and when it comes to electronics Japan is second to none.  If you’re worried about not being able to use your appliances, rest easy because Japan is home to some of the best electronics stores in the world (dare I say even better than the United States?).  If you know what to ask/look for, you can find just about any adapter, transformer, or plug that you’re looking for.

Unfortunately, I’m not an expert when it comes to voltage, cycles, etc., so if in doubt, you may want to consult your local electronics store professional to be certain.  Some other resources that may want to consider are wikipedia.com, the mighty google.com, and online forums as well (places to get specific answers to your questions).

Until next time,

Donald Ash

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  • Donald Ash

    Thank you. I appreciate that.

  • This is a great article. Thanks for sharing those knowledge. I will definitely check it out.

  • honda civic hybrid

    Hey there, A great article, I have to admit this is really nicely written, this place definitely needs posters like you. Filling the forum with some good tips and information, I did follow A couple of your posts, they been relevant and important points were elaborated. I must say we should invariably be ready to post in our best knowledge to support people. Really love this post.

    • Donald Ash

      Lately, I’ve been getting positive feedback from the articles I’ve written, and it just inspires me to write more. Thank you so much

  • Kudos from one brainiac to another. :)

  • I can enjoy that you took an effort on this. Super work.

  • The layout for your blog is a bit off in Flock. Nonetheless I like your blog. I may have to install a “normal” browser just to enjoy it. :)

    • Donald Ash

      Thanks for the heads up. I am looking into the problem, because you may be the third person to mention that. Thank you for reading, too!

  • Kayla

    I managed to find an adapter/transformer combo thing at a shop in the states once, in the “travel” section, I guess. I thought it would be a pretty handy thing to have for a person who travels a lot and still wants to bring their laptop or other appliances. ^_^

  • Seán

    Hey Donald,

    I know this article is more than three years old, but I’m having trouble locating a transformer for my electric shaver, would you be able to tell me where you found yours?

    Many thanks.

    • thejapanguy

      Hey Sean! I found mine at K’s Denki, but I’m sure all of the major electronics shops should carry some kind of transformer. Hope that helps a bit. It sucks when your devices don’t work the way you want them to.

      • Seán

        Thanks so much Donald! I went into my local Joshin but they only had ones that work outside of Japan, I’ll take a look next time I’m in the main city (Kanazawa).

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